Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui 33: how to make a heart pincushion

I am currently stitching the Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui as a stitchalong project.  This week, I will explain how to make a heart pincushion to go in the heart etui (the embroidery itself was shown in a previous post). See the end of this post for all the information you’ll need to join in!

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I’ve been looking forward to constructing this little pincushion, as I really enjoyed doing the embroidery for it. The padding is made from four layers of quilting wadding, tacked into a heap.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre pincushion

The embroidered top looks like this, and is cut out, along with the back, with a 3/8 inch seam allowance (not 1/4 inch as the instructions suggest, as that’s too fiddly). Iron Vilene to the reverse of both the front and back pieces, to slightly stiffen them.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre pincushion

Work two needlewoven bars on the back of the back piece with one strand of Anchor 267 green (substitute) – these will be used later to attach the pincushion to the heart panel.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre pincushion

Reinforce the V on both pieces with sewing cotton that matches your fabric. Clip the curves along the seam allowance, then turn to the back and tack in place on both pieces. Mitre the points to keep them sharp and neat.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre pincushion

Using an eight inch length of centimetre wide grosgrain ribbon, fold under 1cm at one end and, starting at the centre V at the top, attach it to the BACK piece using glove stitch. When you reach the starting point, trim the excess ribbon to 1cm and slipstitch it under the folded edge to make a neat join. The instructions don’t show you how to do glove stitch in the magazine, but I found a good diagram here. It’s like a machine zigzag stitch but done by hand, and it’s very strong.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre pincushion

This is what it looks like once the ribbon has been attached to the back piece all round.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre pincushion

Then do the same again with the front piece, inserting the padding when you are half way round, and finally remove the tacking stitches.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre pincushion

Ta-dah! One completed pincushion!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre pincushion

Isn’t that lovely?! My favourite ‘small’ so far!

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The Strawberry Fayre design, plus the complete list of materials, appears in Inspirations magazine number 95The publishers do sell a full materials pack  (not including the mother of pearl ruler though!), but it’s rather expensive, so if you can use your stash, and just fill in with bits and pieces, then so much the better! The magazine is published in Australia – if you live in the UK, as I do, it is cheaper to buy a back copy from Manor House Magazines, and save a lot on the shipping. 

EDIT: The materials pack from Inspirations, and the magazine from Manor House in the UK are not available any more as at March 2018 – I don’t know if any more stocks will be available now, unfortunately. The publishers may bring out a digital pattern pack later, which they sometimes do with popular projects from their magazines, but we’ll have to wait and see…..

To read about this project stitchalong from the beginning, start here. The post about which FABRIC to use is here. The post about the THREAD SUBSTITUTIONS that I made, plus WHERE TO BUY the threads and beads, etc., is here.

To look up all the posts in this series in the sidebar, see under the CATEGORIES list, under: Embroidery / Full size (others’ designs) / Strawberry Fayre heart etui, or use the SEARCH BOX at the top of the blog, and search for ‘Strawberry Fayre’ to get a list of all the posts (but it’s in reverse order, sorry!).

I’d be interested to see images of how your project is progressing – please email large, clear, well-focused images to  Please bear in mind that any images sent may be used in this blog and/or social media such as Facebook or Pinterest.


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Toy chest etui by Betsy Morgan: 4 – needle case and pincushion

This lovely little needle case is part of Betsy Morgan’s Toy chest etui. I made it in 2012. It’s a holder for a packet of needles (which slip between the back sections of the silk lined case).


The front is cross stitched with variegated silk thread, and the back is checked silk fabric, with a pocket incorporated in the hinge seam.


When it is open, it looks like a paint box. Isn’t it pretty? The pattern at the end of the initials and date on the inside of the lid is a slot, reinforced with the stitching. Inside the slot, you can keep a flat metal needle-threader. The project pack comes with both the needle-threader and a beautiful enamelled charm of a paint palette, to attach to the end of the cord on the needle-threader.


This is the paint box seen closed, with the needle-threader just poking out:


Another accessory in the toy chest is this pincushion, shaped like a book.


The edges of the ‘pages’ are stitched in rows of backstitch, in white. The cover is stitched in cross stitch and counted thread stitches. Each stitched panel of the pincushion is reinforced with fabric stiffener (a bit like petersham), stuffed lightly, and then slipstitched into a book shape.


These designs are by Betsy Morgan of Willing Hands, and form part of the Toy chest etui set. She doesn’t sell these items as kits, but you buy the whole project pack as part of the workshops which she offers, which last from a couple of days to a week, depending on the item being made (of course, you don’t *finish* the item in a few days, but Betsy shows you all the steps you’ll need to do, and you get the chance to practice, and ask questions, and get started at least!). Betsy is from the USA, but has been over to England a couple of times. If you get the chance, go and have a look at her other items, and list of course dates on her blog. In October 2016 she will be offering classes as part of the Beating Around the Bush stitching event in Adelaide, Australia, organised by Inspirations magazine.







Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 4: beaded edging on the pincushion

I was determined to get this pincushion finished this week. As I explained last week, I haven’t been enjoying doing this one (not the fault of the project itself – the lovely pincushion design is from Carolyn Pearce’s ‘Home Sweet Home Workbox’ book) – but more to do with how I was feeling about it.

So, this is the back of the pincushion, showing how I tied the strong green thread around the pincushion, pulling it tight and fastening a tiny button in the centre. I wasn’t quite happy with the squiffy shape of the pincushion at this stage – a bit lop-sided, and not very round.

Home sweet home pincushion 6

At the point when this photo was taken, I had just started to work the beaded hedebo edging around the pincushion.

Home sweet home pincushion 7

This is a lovely stitch, but takes a bit of planning. You need to make a foundation row of cross stitches – one short, one long, one short, etc – along the length of one section of the pincushion, across the seamline. First, you stitch all the ‘bottom left to top right’ slanting stitches.

Home sweet home pincushion 8

Then you go back along the section, stitching the ‘bottom right to top left’ stitches. It looks very messy at this point, but these stitches will all be covered later.

Home sweet home pincushion 9

Then, with the same length of thread, you attach a green seed bead on top of the first, small, cross stitch, anchoring it in place by going through the bead twice, and making a small stitch neatly in the fabric.

Home sweet home pincushion 10

Over the long cross stitch alongside it, you work a row of buttonhole stitches, without piercing the fabric itself, so that you create a lacy-looking edging. When you have tightly filled the long cross stitch, you attach another bead over the short cross stitch….and so on all around the edge of the pincushion. It’s actually easier to do than it is to describe! Carolyn’s book has very detailed instructions with photos at the back of her book. And her photos aren’t out of focus 🙂

Home sweet home pincushion 11

So, this is the finished pincushion, which I like a lot more, now that it’s finished! Cute, isn’t it?

I think that the next ‘small’ for the workbox that I’ll make will be the spool holder, with the oranges on it and the wildflower border around the sides.

Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 3: assembling the pincushion

I had hoped to get the pincushion for the Home Sweet Home workbox etui by Carolyn Pearce completed this week, but I’ve had a bit of a setback! This is how far I’ve got:

Home sweet home workbox pincushion 5

Not far, really!

I managed to stitch the embroidered half to the plain backing fabric, right sides facing, leaving a 1 1/2 inch gap for turning. I hand stitched it, and when I turned it right side out, I noticed that my stitching hadn’t been very neat, and that I had more of an octagon than a circle – part of the ‘circle’ is distinctly flat!

I tied strong thread around the pincushion, to divide it into 8 parts, and added the tiny buttons front and back. So far, so good.

I’ve started to stitch the beaded edging, too, but not got very far with it yet. I’ll try taking more detailed photos as I get further on.

The reason it hadn’t really worked out right was that my mind wasn’t on it completely. Ever since I’d done the actual embroidery, I’d been feeling ‘not quite right’ about this pincushion. Has that ever happened to you? While I’d been doing the embroidery, I’d been feeling in a very ‘flat’ mood, because I’d recently ended a relationship with someone who I’d thought of as a friend, but they turned out to be not what I’d thought at all. It seems that the emotions I was feeling at that time have got kind of  ‘stitched in’ to the pincushion, and now, whenever I look at it, I feel fed up again.  So, it’s hard to get motivated to finish this.

Maybe by next week I’ll have got this finished, and then I can move on to something more pleasant   🙂